National integration is a set of actions and reforms to promote harmony and unity amongst all tiers of society. Irrespective of religion, race, creed, ethnic background and language, national integration binds every segment of society for a unified cause of serving and development of a nation state, therefore, it has great relevance and a direct bearing on national security. Integration is also a consistent growth in which diverse sections of society are provided with identical prospects and equal rights without discrimination. The process of national integration will be strengthened on the precondition that governance at national level should be able to provide strong sense of national identity and national pride by equal development and ensuring equal rights for all communities, regions and the federating units. The significant task confronted by the leaders of most of the post-colonial countries is to generate national identity out of varied linguistic, regional and cultural identities. But, let me say that national integration may not be possible only by organizing gatherings, marches, talk shows and play cards. it needs identification of factors threatening national unity and security viz-a-viz counter measures. Therefore, let us identify the threatening specifics to our national unity and integration.
- What could be probable factors detrimental to national integration may vary with experience and exposure of every Pakistani but here I may say that few commons tickle every working brain. I being a theologian and political worker, unlike most of our political stock keep meditating regarding the issues threatening our national integration. To me most of the issues are intermingled and dependent but what surprises me is response strategy. Our individual approach has become our national mindset. For example, a national leader identifies that Mullah is bad, all Mullahs are bad shall be drum beaten so on and so forth. The reason behind this bad trend is incompetent and oily tongued collection of advisors around him and lack of wide spread debates on national issue while non acceptance of opposite view point augment the problems to spread and snow balled. I believe that identification of issue is half of solution therefore, let me present the core issue hampering our national integration. I have tried to arrange them in the chronology of importance: –
- a. National Educational Text. It is not surprising but unfortunate that as nation have failed to formulate a text for our educational system since last 72 years. Our main stream education has almost 8-10 different even contradictory text while 4-5 conflicting curriculums are taught in religious seminaries. Thus we create 12-15 classes amongst masses at primary educational stage. In normal education, a child believes that Tipu Sultan, Mehmood Ghaznavi and Ghalib are our heroes while a child of same age thinks that Shakespeare, Bert Rand Russell and Montgomery are greater heroes. I do not say they are not great, they may be greatest but educate your children alike. Similarly, in religious dolman, one Talib is told that Abu Baker RA was first righteous Caliph whereas another is taught that he was oppressor. With these contradictory teachings I am sorry to say we may produce suicidal devices, Double Shahs, Iltaf Hussain, BrahmDagh Bugti, Tariq Fatah, Marvi Sermud but no Muhammad Ali, Alama Iqbal, Dr Abdual Slam and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
- b. Democracy verses Islam. I have yet to find out that wise man who pitched Islam against democracy as system of governance. Democracy is not a belief or religion; it is a system of governance. Any belief or religion can be democratic and otherwise but Islam was presented against democracy by intent to sprout rift between religious people and general masses introducing two terms, rightists, religion loving and leftists, democratic and liberals which is untrue. This misunderstanding was progressively deepened by adding sectarian polarization, inter faith wedges, faith verses scientific education and many more fault lines. Resultantly, Islam and Islamists were named fundamentalists and contempt was spread and promoted against religious faction of the society. Religious faction was dragged into thinking that they are the best, most pious and paradise bound while others are crap and bound to hell. You can see this manifestation frequently on TV talk shows.
c. Legislators and Local Bodies. Our democracy and its champions have never been democratic in their conduct. Grand Father, Son, grandson, daughters and daughters in law qualify to be leading political parties and ultimately head of the state or govt. The political organ which is not democratic cannot aspire and talk about democracy. Legislators are involved in development projects and often fight for funds while local bodies are either none existing or ineffective a grass root democratic mechanism. Infect, politics are not a service but a profession to earn. It has not deprived people of their rights but promoted corruption in political culture which is bullish always.
- d. Civil Services. We inherited a colonial administrative system and never strive to reform civil service. Imagine, deputy commissioner bears a flag and nobody can enter his office without head gear. Head of the servants is actually his hghness. A Patwari and SHO are so strong that MNAs and MPAs are dependent on them to maintain influence and even win the elections. These appointments have turned into power islands instead of service rendering institutions. Law enforcement is so ineffective that a bull cart in the center of road is least bothered to care about traffic rules and regulations. Everybody on roads is in a frenzy and if at all stopped or checked two clinched fists, one with a currency bill shall touch and ” All Is Well.
- e. Religious Extremism. What is religious extremism? Offering prayers, giving away Zakat, performing Huj or any other obligation is mandatory and customary in Islamic culture. Extremism is when you enforce or try to enforce your brand of faith on others. The reaction to such an effort is natural so this conflict evolves and become a Holy war for both side. Kafir, Wajeb Ul Qatal, deserves punishment become ideology and become way of life.
- What to Do? What to do my dears. We all know what to do but we are not prepared to start from ourselves. Allah says that there is just one role model for complete humanity, Muhammad ur Rasool Allah SAWAS. Quran says ” laqed Kana Laqum Fi Rasool Ullah e Uswa tun Hasna”. Therefore I shall suggest solution in the light of Quran and Sunnah. My humble recommendations are: –
- a. Standard and alike text for all before specialized education commences. It may be in any language but text should be one for religious and main stream education systems and institutions. Educationists should be selected through a competitive induction system with perk and privileges more the any other profession. There is no short cut to this.
b. Please do away with conflict between Islam and Democracy. Islam is the most democratic system of governance. But democracy in the garb of Monarchy shall never bring the benefits to common man. Political parties claimant of democratic system themselves are hieratic. Father, Son and grandsons are leading while drum beating democracy. This hypocrisy has to end.
c. Without fail and delay, we have to restore local bodies system to be emplaced. It shall not only empowered the people at grass root level but shall add to better legislation as legislators shall focus on the tasks they are elected.
d. We have to get rid of obsolete colonial governance regime. Reforms are earnestly needed in every department but to start with police, revenue and Tax collection is mandatory. Out Tax collection system is so complicated and difficult that a reasonably educated person is unable to do it. Make procedures friendly.
f. I suggest specialization mandatory for profession. All doctors and other professionals must be banned to apply in CSS. At secretarial level, specialists may be taken from their parent organizations like a doctor may be promoted secretary health at federal and provincial level. Same practice can be enforced in every department.
g. Civil servants in any profession may be trained to be servants not masters or bosses. it has another relevant factor that is if we empower local governance regime, civil servants shall spontaneously trimmed but reforms are also desired.
h. All mosques and religious should have standard names and sermons in Juma prayers. No mosque with the name of any personality, party or sect may be acceptable.
i. Last but not least, law enforcement. Please do not make fun of law. We see claims and boosting against a person and after few days he returns like an angle. This trend devalue law and its enforcement amongst masses. Defiance spread which has brought us where we are mourning today. Do not become hostage to public threat. I may quote an example here. Few months back a traffic order was invoked but on the protest of transporters it was revoked in days. It also promote lawlessness and rebellions.
- I may conclude saying that, nation building is not responsibility of a Govt only. Every person, institution and departments are equally responsible to take a nation forward. It is generally seen that we all criticize and point out the mistakes and anomalies but not ready to apply the same to ourselves or our to our family. Till the time we get out of personal patroange syndrome, we keep raising voices at any forum without results.